Network Architecture Essay

Network Architecture Brian Watson University of Phoenix NTC/360 Earl Sortor Network architecture refers to a networks structure (Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004). This structure includes the networks topology. Mesh, Bus, Ring, FDDI and wireless are some of the physical structures of a network that plays a large part in its performance and operation. These topologies, when understood fully, help to understand the networks architecture. So exploring the advantages and disadvantages of the various architectures also.

Acquiring a good grip in network topologies uses and their limitations can have a significant effect on its performance as well as its growth potential (Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004). The four general topologies used today are mesh, bus, ring, and star. Each has its own advantages in their specific designs and the variations of these topologies allow even greater advantages. The advantages and disadvantages of the bus topology can be seen easily. Bus topology is the most basic topology of all. Bus topology is easy to install, easy to handle, and easy to implement.

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Bus topology uses smaller networks best because the traffic moving along the single backbone cable must have devices either sending or receiving data packets. Any two-way traffic would cause a collision. This, in turn, leads to easily identified cable faults, which is another advantage of this topology. On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of the bus topology is its cable length limitations, which limit the number of stations able to connect to the network and that degrades performance as more computers are introduced to the network. Also, if the main backbone cable goes down, the entire network is affected.

Bus topology is simply an outdated topology according to Tomsho, Tittel, and Johnson (2004). Star topology differs from bus in that data passes through a control hub that manages and controls the functions of the network. This centralization is one of the main advantages of the star topology. Another advantage is this configuration allows the other stations in the network to remain connected if one computer fails. Troubleshooting is also an advantageous element of the star topology because of the central hubs location. Single stations experiencing network problems are isolated without affecting other stations.

However, the central hub also can be a disadvantage of this network topology. The failure of this hub results in the failure of the network, and network size depends on the number of connections that can be made onto the hub. In ring topology, each node connects to two other nodes forming a path in which data can travel from node to node in a circle or “ring. ” The advantages of this topology nests in the fact that a central server is not required for management of connectivity between station in the network and each station has the opportunity to transmit data. Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004). A disadvantage of the ring topology is that a bad station can affect the entire network and any changes to the network can affect the performance through each station to get to the next. Finally, in a mesh network topology, each station acts as an independent router and is the most fault tolerant of the network topologies and the most expensive (Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004). The mesh topology allows a continual connection around broken paths by going from node to node until the destination node is reached.

So in the event of a failure, the mesh configuration affects network performance only minimally because multiple connections exist to each device. (Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004). The main disadvantage of the mesh network topology is costs are increased exponentially, because of the amount of cable and hardware required for the physical structure. Many factors are involved in selecting the right network topology and the advantages and disadvantages should certainly weigh heavily on the mind of any network designer when designing a networks structure.

On the link layer, or data link layer (DLL), the lowest layer in the OSI model, there are protocols or rules used by computers to communicate with one another across a network. The protocol controls the connection; communication and data transfer between computers. These protocols are closely related to the physical topologies previously discussed and they also have their advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of the Ethernet is its ease of installation and low cost. (Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004).

However, in more advanced networks bandwidth can suffer from traffic increases. Token ring provides users with fast, reliable transport using a small frame or (token) that passes around like the physical ring topology. A major disadvantage of token ring is its cost. Typically, token costs more to install and are difficult to troubleshoot according to (Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004). FDDI or fiber distributed data interface has it advantages in its speed, reliability and security and the distances the token passes can travel. Its disadvantages are its difficulty to install.

Finally, wireless (LAN) have their advantages in being scalable, portable, fast, and easy to install. The disadvantages are many also. Transfer rate decreases as scalability increases, and wireless (LAN) should not be used as a networking solution because as a networking solution because of its dependence on the environment for reliable communication (Tomsho, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004). The OSI model is very intricate and involves many protocols and topologies, all of which have significant advantages and disadvantages according to its application in a network.

To say that any one solution is applicable to all businesses would be impossible. However, solutions can be designed, problems can be solved and network architecture will continue to improve as time goes by. References 1. Tomsho, G. , Tittel, E. , & Johnson, G. (2004). Guide to Networking Essentials. Retrieved from . 2. Shelly, G. B. , Cashman, T. J. , & Serwatka, J. A. (2004). Business Data Communications. Retrieved from .


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